January 26, 2009

THEY HAVE TO WIN JUST TO DEMONSTRATE THE FARCE:

Razing Arizona: The Cardinals' presence in the Super Bowl is fluky and disgraceful. (Charles P. Pierce, Jan. 26, 2009, Slate)

We're going to hear about how they magically transformed themselves at the end of the season. We're going to hear about the remarkable comeback of Kurt Warner. We're going to hear about how marvelous it is for the National Football League that a Super Bowl championship is within the grasp of a team so thickly dripping with obvious mediocrity that it's a wonder Charlie Sheen isn't playing left guard. We are going to hear all of this because the NFL and its broadcast partners operate on the very simple premise that everybody who reports—or follows—their sport on television is a paste-eating moron.

This simple fact is that the very presence of the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl is at best a fluke and, at worst, a disgrace. They played in a landfill of a division. They won their two playoff games because Jake Delhomme of Carolina turned the ball over six times and because the Philadelphia Eagles all looked at the newspapers last Sunday and discovered they were in the NFC championship game again. The Cardinals are a glorified Arena Football League team with a soft defense and a running game unworthy of the name. They are in the position that they're in because the NFL rigs its season worse than any carny rigs his wheel. For all the macho posturing of its principal propagandists, between the jiggering of the schedule and the conniving of the draft and the socialistic revenue schemes, and the desperate grab for any mechanism that will flatten out the differences between really good teams and really bad ones, the NFL is the league that comes closest to the biddy soccer league philosophy of making sure that everyone gets a trophy.


The simple truth is that there just didn't happen to be any great NFL teams this year--the Steelers may come closest, but now that Matt Cassel knows how to play in weather, no one doubts the Pats would have won a playoff rematch--so there's no reason the Cards ought not win.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2009 9:24 AM
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